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Gearbox Manufacturing Discussed at Length

Gears are mechanical devices that control the motion and speed of an automobile, machine, industrial equipment, robotics, hydraulics, and so on. A gearbox is a set of such gears which allow easy shifting of gears. Gearbox manufacturing processes have evolved over the years and this can be attributed to the foray of technology in industrial instruments, vehicles, and so on. Mostly made of sturdy metals such as cast iron, steel, aluminum, and so on, these gearboxes are made using various fabrication and machining techniques. Processes such as casting, forging, and blanking are used in gear manufacturing, and the machining is performed to achieve the required size, shape, dimensions, and so on.

Steps Before Gear Manufacturing

There are some important steps as well as factors to consider before the actual gearbox manufacturing process. Here are some pointers that explain the same.

  • Materials used: As mentioned, gears are made of several types of metals and alloys such as steel, cast iron, aluminum, bronze, brass, and so on. Some gears may be made of plastics. The selection of the material depends on the sturdiness required, the load-to-weight ratio of the concerned machine, durability, cost, and so on. Also, resistance to harsh operating environments in industries, shocks, vibration, heat, and so on is essential. So, the material must be selected accordingly considering the physical properties of metals or plastics.
  • Gear design: This aspect largely depends on the application requirements. The structure and dimensions are mainly decided in design. When designing, it is essential to consider cost reduction by using cost-efficient yet durable materials. As much as possible, the parts must be reusable or recyclable. Duty cycles of the given machine must also be considered in the design. If the machine runs on a continuous basis in a 24/7 environment, the design must be such that the continuous functioning does not cause wear & tear. Also, the operating temperature range must be set accordingly. Also, the amount of current required, torque, motor output in terms of speed and velocity, and so on must be considered when designing a gearbox. Choosing the right motor-to-gear ratio is crucial.
  • Gearbox components: A gearbox primarily comprises a gear train, bearings, clutch shaft, main shaft, counter shaft, and selector fork. Gears may or may not have teeth.

Gear Manufacturing Processes

Once the materials are finalized and the design file is ready, the actual gear manufacturing process begins. Here are some gear manufacturing processes.

  • Blanking: A blank is formed for gears with or without teeth. This process defines the shape of the gearbox. This is done by feeding the sheet metal into a die and press. The selected metal is cut into the required shape.
  • Heat treatment: In this process, gears are subjected to induction heating where the hardening of teeth takes place. 
  • Milling: This is a machining process that deals with teeth formation. Each tooth is formed once the milling tool moves in a rotational manner along the workpiece axis and removes the material between the gear teeth to form space after each tooth.
  • Hobbing: This is a technique used to manufacture small gears as well as splines and sprockets. These are circular machines.

Gearboxes are integral part of many industrial equipments, so they must be chosen carefully. If you have been already using them and are facing challenges in operation, ensure to partner with a trusted repair, maintenance, and rebuilding service provider. Motor & Gear Engineering, Inc. is one of the leading players offering repair and rebuilding services for many reputed brands of gears and gearboxes. With a market presence of more than 45 years, the company is known for its expertise in the gearbox segment.